Hampstead Theatre announces its first live productions for 2021. Alfred Fagon’s darkly compelling, The Death of a Black Man will run from 28 May until 10 July having originally premiered at the theatre in 1975.
46 years on, this rare revival from the Black British playwriting canon, raises many of the same questions we face today surrounding identity, capitalism and sexual politics. Dawn Walton, former Artistic Director of Eclipse Theatre Company, makes her Hampstead Theatre directorial debut.
Hampstead Downstairs will also reopen with the world premiere of Raya, by Deborah Bruce from 11 June until 24 July. This funny and tender new play will be the theatre’s Artistic Director Roxana Silbert’s first Downstairs production. Both productions will be staged with social distancing in place for the duration of their runs. Tickets will go on sale from Wednesday 24 March at 10.30am at hampsteadtheatre.com.
Roxana Silbert, Artistic Director and Joint Chief Executive of Hampstead Theatre said: I am delighted to announce these productions for many reasons. I’m excited to share Alfred Fagon’s powerful, brilliant play with audiences, look forward with tremendous anticipation to Dawn Walton’s production in her Hampstead debut and, I am counting down the days until we are in a rehearsal room with Deborah Bruce’s beautiful play Raya, my first production Downstairs. COVID makes planning a challenge. However, if all goes well, our autumn season is overflowing with remarkable established and new artists including Katie Mitchell, Marsha Norman, Mufaro Makubika, Tom Wells and Tennessee Williams. We are desperate to get going again and, in doing so, support our wonderful freelance colleagues to do what they do best: make live theatre. It’s been a year since we shut our doors and we are ready to switch on the lights and welcome everyone back in.
Dawn Walton, Director of The Death of a Black Man said: I am so looking forward to making my directorial debut at Hampstead Theatre with this fascinating, complex play. Alfred Fagon is a name so many of us are familiar with due to the legacy of the Alfred Fagon Award and yet people rarely get the chance to see his work. The Death of a Black Man is an opportunity to see why this playwright was such a trailblazing artist of his generation.
Deborah Bruce, playwright of Raya said: I can’t wait to return to the rehearsal room and back to Hampstead Theatre, the venue that produced my first play ten years ago. Raya is a play about two people reconnecting after a long time, which has a particular resonance at this moment, when only a year ago feels like a lifetime away. I’m excited to share the story with audiences.
The world premiere of Raya by Deborah Bruce will mark the reopening of Hampstead Downstairs. Directed by Roxana Silbert, Raya will be Silbert’s second production at Hampstead Theatre since joining as its Artistic-Director in 2019, following the critically-acclaimed espionage thriller The Haystack by Al Blyth in 2020.
Acclaimed stage and screen actors, Claire Price, Bo Poraj, and Shannon Hayes will perform in this new play with design by Moi Tran and sound design and composition by Nick Powell